ActionNewsJax.com News Staff
Fletcher Middle School parents were alerted to an “inappropriate” and “obscene” video shared with students through AirDrop and text message.
Parents told Action News Jax the video appeared to show two students having sex.
“I was very sad and I was very upset for what happened,” parent Carolina Belaez said. “I told my daughter she has to be careful with technology and with cell phones.”
In a call home to parents, Principal Joe McKenzie said, “This is a very serious matter, and we are working with law enforcement on the investigation. We have already identified one individual allegedly involved, and police continue to investigate. As police identify others responsible, I assure you that I will take appropriate disciplinary action at the school, and consequences may also include criminal charges.”
Jacksonville Beach Police said detectives have given out multiple juvenile citations as well. If a student receives the video, they’re asked to contact administrators or police.
Theresa Rulien, the president and CEO of Child Guidance Center said while the topic might be uncomfortable, it’s best for parents to approach it with confidence.
“When we act like something is uncomfortable to us, it immediately tells them ‘uh oh, I’m not supposed to talk about that,’” she said. “Give the idea that ‘We’re in this as a partners and it’s not a hierarchy. I’m here to protect you. But we’re in this together’ — makes it a lot easier.”
Experts recommend setting AirDrop mode to contacts only and only accept content from people you know.
Action News Jax’s Law & Safety Expert Dale Carson explained because teens were allegedly in the video, it could be considered child pornography.
“These are extraordinary charges if it involves underage individuals engaging in sexual behavior,” he said. “This is going to be something that’s fully investigated. They’ll use tracking on the internet to determine who did what, when, and who filmed it. That person can be charged with child production. Which is a 20 year offense.”
Principal McKenzie said, “While I am disappointed by this event, it does provide an opportunity to ask for your support in talking to your children about the appropriate use of the technology available to them on their phones. Creating or sharing inappropriate content can have life changing consequences.”
Duval County Public Schools and Jacksonville Beach Police could not release any additional information at this time.
You can read the full message from Principal McKenzie below:
“Good afternoon Fletcher Middle School families, this is Principal McKenzie calling.
“Unfortunately, I’m calling to share some disappointing news, but it is news I believe you need to be aware of as parents.
“We recently learned that someone shared an inappropriate, obscene video with students via text message and AirDrop.
“This is a very serious matter and we are working with law enforcement on the investigation.
“We’ve already identified one individual allegedly involved and police continue to investigate.
“As police identify others responsible, I assure you that I will take appropriate disciplinary action at the school and consequences may also include criminal charges.
“While I’m disappointed by this event, it does provide an opportunity to ask for your support in talking to your children about the appropriate use of the technology available to them on their phones.
“Creating or sharing inappropriate content can have life-changing consequences. If a student receives this type of content, they should not share it. Rather, it should be reported to a school administrator or police officer as quickly as possible.
“Because your child’s well being is important to us, please know that school counselors are available to speak with any student who may need support processing this incident.
“Feel free to let me know if your child needs that support, and as always, thank you for your continued support of Fletcher Middle School. Do not hesitate to call me if you have any questions. Thank you.”